Monday, May 28, 2012

A Quilt of Valor

I've been trying to wean myself from electronic devices because they have just invited more isolation from those around me rather than stay connected.  I was fearful that all this inward "acedia" as it may be was going to just sound like a pity party, and I didn't want this blog to turn into that, which seemed to be the path it was taking.  I have decided to make a move away from self-pity and just plain loneliness by turning my attention on to something/someone else. 

I have been hearing about the great organization that encourages people to make a quilt for a returning soldier. The requirements are quite quicky quilts, no tying, required dimensions, and it has to be quilted on a longarm! I don't have one, but I have a dear friend that does...3 hours away from here. So I am planing a great reunion with her in July for this.
Here's the plan...Today is Memorial Day. What a great day to start! Chris was born on Memorial Day and this year the date is the same as well.  I have been tear-y eyed all week anticipating the inevitable "Day." They say the hardest day for a mother who's lost a child is his birthday.   It's hard to put any day on a scale  because then there would be an "easier" day...ain't gonna happen.  Back to "The Plan" .... I want to have the top finished by the Fourth of July and have it ready to send off to the soldier by 9/11.

These dates have special meaning to just about every American, but they are especially poignant to me. Chris died on the Fourth of July, and when that horrible event of 9/11 happended we were just 10 weeks into mourning the loss of our boy.  The whole nation was forced into mourning, and I was angry that I was supposed to push aside my loss and join the nation. Besides, Chris wasn't a soldier, and his death seemed to pale in comparison to all those who had died. This is a terrible confession but an honest one about the horrors of grieving. 

It's been 11 years. and each of these dates bring too much sadness into my daily life.  It's time to create new memories and a purposeful gift to someone else. So this Quilt of Valor in my sewing room has been born today. Here's another quirky fact...the pattern I have chosen takes 9 red fat quarters and 11 blue ones.  This is meant to be.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Irises -- Revisited

Last March I posted a childhood memory about fingerpainting flowers as a child. This week I was able to "pass it on" in a special way to my sister.  I know the picture is dark but I just wanted to share this story and this phenomenal talent that was emerging at such a young age.

After writing that post on March 1st, many asked me if I still had that picture.  A child's painting from 50 years ago?!  I had a few things tucked away but I doubted I had that after all these years.  It did get me to thinking if it was indeed in a particular box. Deep in the junk closet of my own children's packed away keepsakes, I found what I was looking for -- an elongated flat box that held some quick drawings my mother had done, and a funny huge robin on manila paper and swashed with a thin layer of tempera paint  -- a faint memory, too. Rolled in the bottom were two finger paintings. A blue one that I think I did but not signed and this brown one. Great, this is it! But the artist signature was not mine! Instead, my little sister had signed her piece of art( two years later with the same teacher) and for some reason, I had it.

This had to be preserved, and I had to get it back to her.  She had been in the huge process of helping her son plan a wedding many states away, and buying and refurbishing a home that was taking longer than anyone cared to admit. Even as an artist in her own right, with a degree from UT and our mother's genes, Janie still only dabbled in her art. But a studio room is part of that new house and I wanted to make sure she had this piece to adorn a wall of that room to remind her of her gifted talent.

I framed it between two pieces of glass, printed out the Irises story and placed it on the back just above her childhood signature. Then it was off to UPS to get it safely to her.  I am a little OCD when it comes to mailing packages; checking every hour the staus online and calling to see if it came to the right door.  I was beside myself when Janie did finally say that it came, but she would open it...later. WHAT!? Who does that?

  As it turned out, the wait was some sort of divine intervention. The next day, Janie heard about the passing of her dear godmother, a precious friend (and the last) of our mother's.  The sad moment at least became bittersweet as she finally opened the package with her husband.  A treasured memory preserved of art, mothers, sisters, friends, and lasting love.